Helping Wigan’s young people fix their futures
We hear from Ian Tomlinson of Wigan-based charity, Fix-It, which supports young people to gain skills, confidence and work experience to build brighter and more successful futures…
Fix-It is a Wigan based charity primarily aimed at supporting young people aged 14 – 25. Since 2004 the charity has been providing young people with training, personal development and motor industry recognised qualifications, helping them to gain the confidence to approach potential employers or go further in education.
We work with over 130 young people every year and each one faces a range of different barriers such as learning difficulties or a lack of positive role models. We also work with young ex offenders, young people involved in anti-social behaviour, those not in education, employment or training, looked after young people and those who have been permanently excluded from school.
We make Fix-It look and feel like a place of work, all the young people have jobs to do each day and work in small groups with their trainer. As we get to know the young people we understand what is stopping them from having a happy, prosperous future. We un-pick the problems and help them to overcome the things that have stopped them progressing. At Fix-It they find something they are good at and are able to learn and achieve. They make new friends and we support them to make choices about their life.
Last year we secured Awards for All funding to run a welding and fabrication course, which was received very positively by the staff and students. The funding allowed us to trial the project in our Community Garage where we service private cars and vans to raise extra income. The students used their new welding skills to offer alloy wheel and welding repairs on cars and vans, giving them the opportunity to interact with real customers. The charity is now applying to Reaching Communities so we can continue to grow and up-scale the project.
We recently attended a Big Lottery Fund media training course in Manchester where we met other grant recipients and received training on how to effectively use digital and social media to tell our story. We met lots of different projects, all at different stages of their journey. Fix-it is now working with one of them, Sam Smith from Support the Youth in Blackpool. He is a passionate advocate for young people and his enthusiasm is infectious. Sam has already visited our project and we are going up to Blackpool to visit his and see how we can work together to make the North West a better place for young people struggling to find their way.
Have you read Sam’s story?
Have you been involved with a Big Lottery Fund project? …we can share your story!